The increase of the Lithuanian Defence Budget has enabled a significant improvement of living and service conditions Lithuania offers to Allied troops over the past three years. Host Nation Support (HNS) spending have tripled to approx. EUR 410 million in 2021-2023.
HNS encompasses civilian and military support rendered in peacetime or in case of crises by the host nation to Allied forces deploying in its territory to execute further operations or transiting it.
Specifically in Lithuania, the spending encompass investment in military infrastructure –training areas, Lithuanian Air Force Base, repair of barracks, stationing areas. HNS funds also cover equipment acquisitions for field camps, Lithuanian Air Force Base, logistical transportation tasks. The rest of the spending ensures necessities and services for the NATO Air Policing Mission in the Baltic states.
“As a member of NATO, Lithuania has a commitment to be prepared to host Allied forces and ensure all necessary services: access to both civilian and military infrastructure, communications and information technology, lodging and meals, medical, other services. We develop HNS infrastructure to put in place the necessary conditions for a quicker, more effective and more convenient deployment of Allied military capabilities in Lithuania,” says Minister of National Defence Arvydas Anušauskas.
Lithuania allocates at least 5-10 percent of the total defence spending for HNS requirements annually. Over EUR 1 billion is planned to be invested in the area over the next 5 years.
Moreover, as the geopolitical situation has been shifting, the Ministry of National Defence initiated amendments to laws to accelerate the HNS infrastructure development. The amendments simplified and sped up procedures of taking private land for public use for national defence purposes in cases of emergency military infrastructure development projects needed to ensure sustainment of Allied forces.
The amendments will ensure NATO Allied capabilities are hosted smoothly as HNS military infrastructure can be developed more quickly without waiting the up to one year period for private land use like it was before.
The minimum of 2,500 Allied military personnel is deployed in Lithuania persistently. They are training for defence of the eastern NATO border and mount a formidable deterrence. Critical elements of deterrence are military presence of Lithuania’s strategic Allies Germany and the United States in the region, the multinational NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group in Rukla, therefore Lithuania works comprehensively to ensure a persistent and long-term deployment of the international forces.
Germany has a commitment to station a brigade-sized contingent for permanent presence in Lithuania. Lithuania appreciates the historical decision and makes every effort to be ready to host the brigade as soon as possible. According to Minister A. Anušauskas, the main part of the German brigade will be deployed already in 2026 and part of the contingent will be arriving with their families. The German brigade will be able to conduct its training activities at Rukla and Rūdninkai training areas.
Photo credit: MoD / SSgt A. Čemerka